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Monday, March 4, 2024

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Democracy Trailblazers ignite enthusiasm among teen voters; CA monster blizzard batters Tahoe, Mammoth, Sierra amid avalanche warnings; MN transportation sector could be next in line for carbon-free standard; IN teachers 'stunned' by lawmakers' bid to bypass collective bargaining.

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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Bill Would Ban Ranked-Choice Voting in MT Elections

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Monday, February 27, 2023   

Montana lawmakers are considering banning a way of running elections known as ranked choice voting.

Under this election system, people rank their top choices in order preference - and as candidates no longer become viable based on the number of votes, voters' next option is counted.

Will Mantell, press secretary with FairVote, said ranked choice voting has benefits - such as for local, nonpartisan elections. He said these elections often are done in two rounds, with the two highest vote getters from round one running off in round two.

Mantell noted that the first round of elections usually has low turnout, forcing cities or counties to pay for two elections.

"With ranked choice voting," said Mantell, "you can do that all in one election with a 'instant runoff' that identifies a majority winner in a crowded field."

Opponents of ranked choice voting say they make elections less transparent and can lead to ballot exhaustion, which occurs when all of the candidates marked on the ballot are no longer in the contest.

Ranked choice voting is used in local elections across the country, and statewide in Alaska and Maine. A hearing is scheduled for the bill today.

Mantell said ranked choice voting is still a novel concept in Montana.

"It's important to note there are no Montana cities that are actually using ranked choice voting at this point," said Mantell. "So I'm not sure why the state would want to preemptively take this option away from cities if it's something that they want to try."

A similar measure has been introduced in the Idaho Legislature.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.



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